“Stop being so hard on yourself,” Kylie said in reprimand. “We’ll help you get back on your feet. You can’t expect to have all the answers in a day. What you need to do right now is give yourself some time. Lean on us and let us help you. Joss and I will be with you every step of the way and we’ll come up with a plan.”

“Absolutely,” Joss said firmly. “For the next few days all you need to do is sit back and take stock. There is no hurry. We’ll make a list of things that need to get done. Dash knows a divorce attorney and we can consult with him if that’s still what you want to do after you’ve had a few days to think on it. You don’t need to make hasty, emotional decisions. Then after you decide if you want to proceed with a divorce we’ll figure out your job options and a place to live, although you’re welcome to stay with either us or Kylie and Jensen for as long as you want.”


Kylie nodded her agreement.

“You need to be sure this is what you want,” Kylie said quietly. “Divorce is a huge step. You obviously love Tate and I am not disputing the fact that he royally f**ked up, but are you certain there can be no reconciliation? I know he has a lot to make up for, but I also believe he truly does love you.”

“I don’t doubt he loves me,” Chessy said in a low voice. “But sometimes love isn’t enough, you know? His actions don’t back up his words. Time and time again he’s chosen something else over me. I’ve done all the giving in our marriage and he’s done all the taking. I’ve supported him unconditionally. I’ve given him my submission, my heart, my soul. What else is there for me to give except forgiveness? I’m not sure I can this time.”

“You make a very good point,” Joss admitted. “In your shoes I honestly can’t say what I’d do. But no matter what you decide, I support you one hundred percent and I’ll always be here for whatever you need.”

“The same goes for me,” Kylie said resolutely. “And Jensen. Whatever you decide, no matter whether I agree or not, we are behind you. We’ll do whatever you need us to. True friendship has no boundaries. No parameters. And certainly has no conditions. I love you like a sister—you are my sister in my heart—and I’ll never forget how supportive you were of me when my relationship with Jensen was just beginning. You held my hand through it all. I’ll never forget that or be able to repay you for your love and friendship.”

Chessy set her half-empty wineglass on the coffee table and then reached for both their hands, squeezing with heartfelt love. “I love you both so much. A woman has never had truer friends than I do.”

“Soup’s on,” Jensen called from the doorway of the living room. “You girls ready to eat?”

Chessy didn’t have the heart to tell him that the very last thing she felt like doing was eating after the effort he’d gone to in order to cheer her up. With a sigh, she pushed herself up from the couch and followed Kylie and Joss to the kitchen where Dash was finishing up setting the table.

Dash pulled a chair out for Chessy and dropped an affectionate kiss on the top of her head as she sat.

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“You’re going to get through this, honey,” he said. “I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but you’re a beautiful, strong, loving woman. You’ll survive.”

ACROSS town, Tate stared broodingly out the window of his living room, admitting to himself that he was watching for Chessy. Hoping against hope that she’d change her mind and come home to him.

No doubt she was at Joss’s or Kylie’s surrounded by the unconditional support of them and Dash and Jensen. Jensen had been rightfully pissed and furious with Tate. He hadn’t taken it well at the time because he’d known Jensen had been justified in his reaction. The truth was hard to swallow. It was painful and direct. And it cut straight to his heart.

He’d failed Chessy yet again. Time after time he’d let her down. He’d put her in serious jeopardy, her safety, her very life in danger, and that was unforgivable. He knew it was unforgivable and yet he couldn’t face the possibility that Chessy wouldn’t forgive him.

His greatest fear was that he’d pushed her too far this time. That he’d used up his allotment of second chances. Hell, not even second chances. More like third, fourth and fifth chances.

He rubbed his face wearily. Sleep eluded him. All he could do was sit here, phone in hand, sending her text after text, begging her to answer her phone. To talk to him. To come back home and give him yet another chance.

Each text had gone unanswered. The last time he’d tried to call her it had gone straight to voicemail, signaling that she’d turned off her phone. The rejection cut him to the core.

Tears burned his eyelids and he rubbed impatiently at them, refusing to give in to the overwhelming despair that crowded his heart.

He had some serious damage to repair. Starting with his career. He had to prove to Chessy that she could count on him going forward. Whatever it took. He’d made several calls to other financial advisors who’d expressed an interest in partnership after his last partner had bailed.

Pride had made him refuse. He wanted to become a solid success on his own, but now he realized that he was sacrificing what mattered to him most with his stubbornness. He had enough clients to take on at least two partners. With the clients they’d bring, they’d have plenty of accounts to spread among the three of them. And he would have more time to devote to Chessy and their marriage. Provided she gave him the opportunity.

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